Published on October 2, 2019 by Morgan Black  

Samford University was officially welcomed into Gamma Iota Sigma International Fraternity at its annual conference in Dallas, Texas, on Sept. 26-28. The newly chartered Gamma Nu student chapter will be housed in Brock School of Business.

Gamma Iota Sigma is the only international business fraternity for students of insurance, risk management and actuarial science. The organization promotes and encourages student interest in the industry while boosting moral and scholastic attainments of its members.

Rusty Yerkes, associate professor of finance and Gamma Iota Sigma faculty adviser, noted that more than 500 students and 300 industry professionals participated in the conference in Dallas.

“The Gamma Iota Sigma conference provided an opportunity for Samford students to learn about cutting edge risk management and insurance topics, network with industry professionals and students from other universities, and interview for internships and full-time opportunities,” Yerkes said. “Having a local chapter will allow Samford to host professional development and networking events, connect with local community business partners in corporate risk management and the insurance industry, and will broaden career opportunities available to business students from all disciplines.”

While in Dallas, the group attended a Samford Alumni Association networking dinner with Dallas-area alumni. They also visited with Brock School of Business alumnus and donor Gary Cooney, vice chairman for McGriff Seibels & Williams; and alumni Brandon Guyton, a client executive for HUB International and Alec Happel, a credit analyst for Regions Bank. The group also enjoyed seeing the Texas Rangers play the New York Yankees in Arlington, Texas.

"Representing Samford at the Gamma Iota Sigma conference in Dallas was a great honor and an incredible educational opportunity,” said senior management major Madison Averill. “I am so thankful for this community of risk management and insurance students and professionals. In addition to the conference, my classmates and I were able to spend quality time with Mr. Gary Cooney who invested in us as we move forward in the insurance industry.” 

Yerkes added that there is projected to be a shortage of risk management and insurance professionals in the next five years, creating a great opportunity for business students to prepare themselves for a career in this industry.

Beginning in spring 2020, Brock School of Business will offer a Principles of Risk Management and Insurance course which will be a complement to the data analytics and professional sales concentrations and prepare students for the future needs of the industry.  

“The risk management and insurance industry is a key part of Birmingham’s past, present and future in business,” interim dean Chad Carson said. “Our efforts to establish a Gamma Iota Sigma chapter, along with internships and new course work in the discipline, will position our students to have success in this key industry.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.